Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe

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1996 Pontiac Grand Prix
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1996 Pontiac Grand Prix

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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

It took General Motors 10 years to bring the platform on which the Grand Prix is based to market, and since the 1988 debut of the Grand Prix and its corporate siblings, the Buick Regal and Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, the cars have been major money losers for the company. Originally available only as coupes, sedans joined the lineup in 1990, but were too late and too lame to capitalize on a market dominated by the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord. To remain competitive, prices for these under-engineered vehicles have remained quite low, and GM loses money on every single one it sells.

The current Grand Prix may not look much different from the car we first saw in 1988, but under the skin it's very different. A new interior was added in 1994, more powerful engines power both the coupe and sedan, and low prices undercut the competition. Equipped with the optional DOHC 3.4-liter V6, the Grand Prix is transformed into a reasonably good performer with accommodations for five adults. Each year, the Grand Prix receives improvement.

This year, improvements are kept to a minimum as Pontiac prepares to launch an all-new Grand Prix for 1997. Newly standard on the SE coupe is the B4U option package, which includes five-spoke alloy wheels, sport moldings, fog lights and other performance cues. Horsepower is up to 215 for the 3.4-liter V6, and the base 3.1-liter V6 receives long life spark plugs. A new High-Polished Wheel Package includes chrome wheels, silver decal work and a decklid spoiler.

Despite its inherent value, we do not recommend the Grand Prix in sedan or coupe form. They feel heavy, look dated, and are generally underwhelming. Granted, the GTP coupe looks like a bad boy compared to Ford's Thunderbird and the new Monte Carlo, but those cars are far more sophisticated, better looking, and better engineered. Ditto the GT sedan, which goes up against the likes of the Volkswagen Jetta GLX and Nissan Maxima SE. With the availability of far better cars for slightly more money, the Grand Prix just doesn't make sense. However, the main reason for avoiding the 1996 Grand Prix is the imminent arrival of the 1997 model. It's hot, and we wouldn't want anyone to suffer severe buyer's remorse when it debuts.

1996 Highlights

Minor trim and powertrain improvements to the only car in GM's stable that still has those stupid door-mounted seatbelts. Do yourself a favor. Wait for the 1997 GP.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

A Great Car, except ...
JeremyW,04/07/2010
I bought my Grand Prix used from the original owner. It was loaded with sunroof and "heads-up" display on the windshield. I loved this car. It had 50,000 miles on it when I purchased it and it had 130K when I sold it. I never had any engine problems except that the intake manifold gasket was leaking due to a known issue caused by GM's Dexcool antifreeze. Coolant leaks are a common problem on GM models from that time period. It was going to cost me about $700 to have it repaired and the car is only valued at about $1500, so I decided to trade it in on a new vehicle. The car handles well and the 3.1 liter engine delivers plenty of horsepower.
Great Car!
cmm1910,07/06/2003
I bought the car brand new and drove it for 4yrs and traded it with 50,000mi. Required nothing but regular maintenance. I loved the sporty look and feel of the car and was still able to cart the kids around! Only flaw was the winter handling, it wasn't the best in the snow. I traded it in for an SUV and lost that exciting feel when driving.
A stable workhorse
Mitch64,05/10/2002
I have 110,000 miles on my Pontiac GP SE Coupe. I purchased it new in '96 and the car has essnetially been trouble- free. However, it drinks more oil after about 60K. The car runs smooth and quiet, although it could use a bit more power (I have the 3.1 liter engine). I bought the car because of the style and the price. It looks a lot sportier than it really is.
Excellent Sports Car
AK Dublin, OH,06/11/2002
My car currently has 99K on it and has been a jewel of a car. The only downfall was an intake gasket and my transmission at 98K went. However I run my car very hard and it has handled it extremely well. I'd reccommend it to anyone.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
215 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
18 city / 26 hwy
Seats 0
4-speed automatic
Gas
160 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver4 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    0

More about the 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix
Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe Overview

The Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe is offered in the following styles: GTP 2dr Coupe, and SE 2dr Coupe.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe?

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Can't find a used 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix Grand Prix Coupe you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Pontiac Grand Prix for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $11,420.

Find a used Pontiac for sale - 11 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $17,405.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac Grand Prix for sale - 12 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $17,669.

Find a used certified pre-owned Pontiac for sale - 9 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $23,426.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Pontiac lease specials
Check out Pontiac Grand Prix lease specials